Questions You Should Ask Your Real Estate Agent Before Buying Your First Home



Buying a home for the first time is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s exciting, overwhelming, and there are many important things you should consider. Hiring an experienced real estate agent will make your search and purchase much easier as they’ll guide you through the process and will work in your best interest. However, there are a few essential questions you should ask your real estate agent so you won’t be left with unexpected costs when signing the contract.

Look below to find some of the important questions you should prepare before closing the deal on your first-ever house.

How much are the closing costs?

Understand your total budget before you start looking at houses, and consider additional costs like property taxes, closing costs, and others. It’s important to know that closing costs can amount to anywhere from 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price. Often, homebuyers are not aware of the hidden costs involved when purchasing a house. Some of the closing costs include property appraisal fees, home inspection, lawyer fees, moving costs, and condo status certificate fees.

Note that the amount of the closing costs may depend on the location of your purchase and whether you’re a first-time homebuyer. Let’s say you’re planning to buy a house in Ontario. Aside from asking your real estate agent about the closing costs in Ontario, you can also click here to get an estimate. That way you’ll know what to expect and be prepared when the time comes.

What’s included in the sale, and were there any renovations or upgrades to the house?

Fixtures such as cabinets, window blinds, and faucets, are typically included when purchasing a house. However, there could be things you might think are included but aren’t. The listing description should have any items that the seller is not including but sometimes this is not the case. Make sure you ask what is and isn’t included with the house, and if you’d like to keep some things, ask if the seller is willing to throw these items into the deal.

Note that property records don’t always match up. For example, a house may be advertised as having four bedrooms, but maybe one of the rooms doesn’t follow local building codes. Make sure you learn about major renovations or upgrades the seller has done. Knowing the home’s history of improvements can help you understand the seller’s price better.

How long is the house on the market, and how much are other houses in the neighborhood?

The longer a property has been on the market, the seller might be more motivated to make a deal. This could mean that you’ll be able to negotiate the price, terms, contingencies, and credits for replacing outdated items. If a house is on the market too long and the listing shows multiple price cuts, the buyers might think there’s something wrong with it. This could allow you to negotiate a deal.

It’s important to understand the current local market since it will help you determine whether the seller’s asking price is way too high or just right. Your real estate agent can pull the comparable listing data for similar houses that have sold in the last 6 months or are currently on the market. This can be the basis for comparison. While doing so, you can add another question regarding what the neighborhood is like, and find out key information like school ratings, community amenities, crime statistics, and how is the traffic.

Are there any issues with the property?

Sellers are usually required to provide a disclosure listing any known defect about the property, but the problem arises when they don’t disclose some important defect, which could lead to major issues later. Note that it’s crucial to get a home inspection by a professional inspector, as soon as the agreement is signed.

The report will outline the overall condition of the property, and it can help you negotiate future concessions including repairs or seller-paid credits. In case the house has too many issues, you’ll be able to back out of the deal without penalty, and in most cases, you can get your deposit returned.

Final thoughts

When purchasing a property for the first time it’s very important to learn and understand the process so everything can go smoothly. Most importantly, know who you’re hiring and prepare essential questions that could make or break a deal. When you go into buying a house prepared there are only a few little things that could go wrong. So, make sure you research, understand and be prepared to enjoy the process instead of stressing out about unexpected costs.

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